Maintain a Senior’s Independence with the Help of Technology
- By: Scott Vanderhoef
- Technology for Seniors
In the days when our parents were young, phones were still attached to walls, mail was only the paper variety, and if adult children lived far away from their parents, checking in on them was comprised of asking someone nearby to stop in for a visit. If someone was housebound because of illness or infirmity, isolation could quickly set in. Social circles became smaller, and distant family members often felt helpless if they couldn’t be there in person to help. But life has dramatically changed in recent decades, and technology has evolved how we communicate and manage the daily tasks of living.
Technology for seniors has allowed for innovation in home care and those who ordinarily might not have been able to manage life on their own. With the increase in smart technology, social media and interactive telecommunications platforms, maintaining independence is easier than ever, allowing for more enhanced levels of connection, comfort and engagement than ever before.
Many new types of technology have unlimited applications for in home care for seniors, from traditional medical applications to enhanced social engagement capabilities. Not only do these tools bring a much-needed peace of mind to older individuals and those they love, but, even more importantly, they provide a greater level of freedom, more independence and an improved overall quality of life. These days, even if you’re home alone, you can still connect, converse and engage with those outside of your immediate surroundings. And even more importantly, should a medical emergency arise, it’s technology that helps keep seniors safe and cared for. Here are a few of our favorites for maintaining independence:
Webcams: Putting webcams throughout the home permits family members and caregivers to virtually check in on the senior 24 hours per day. Webcams also allow loved ones who live far way to video chat with and see their loved ones face to face.
Alarms: Alarm systems can now be installed with cameras placed at the front door, allowing seniors to verify who is at the door before answering it. These can be connected to either a computer or smart phone.
Sensors: As with webcams, sensors can be placed in and around the home to track a senior’s movement. These are particularly useful for seniors with wandering concerns. Most sensor systems can be hooked up to a television or computer with an Internet connection.
Medical Alerts: These life-saving devices have been around for quite a while now, but continue to be updated to improve functionality and effectiveness. They are worn by the older individual, who presses a button in the event of a fall or other emergency. The senior is then connected to 911 or another emergency response service. Some systems can even tell if the person wearing it has fallen, without the need for him or her to press a button at all.
Automatic Pill Reminders/Dispensers: These are wonderful tools for those with dementia or early stage Alzheimer’s disease who are still living safely on their own. An alarm sounds, alerting the senior to take his or her meds, and the correct dosage is dispensed. If the senior misses a dose, a message is sent to the caregiver after a pre-set length of time.
Games: Technology has also given us enjoyable, innovative forms of entertainment, like those for the Wii game platform, which encourages physical activity, as well as games that improve cognitive functioning, such as puzzles. Games can provide hours of fun, but may also help improve physical and mental health. And by using the Internet, games can also be played with friends and family who live some distance away.
To help relieve worry and stress when you can’t be with your parents, and to help them with maintaining independence, Heaven at Home Senior Care, a Denton home health care provider of in home care for seniors, can provide you with a free in-home evaluation to determine what type of home care services your parents may need and what technology could best benefit them. Our trained staff can provide a variety of traditional home care services, such as light housekeeping and meal planning, transportation, companionship, personal care and specialized disease management.